Star Trek: Into Darkness

Well, that rascally crew of the Enterprise is back for some more madcap
shenanigans in this lighthearted romp brought to us once again by JJ
Abrams.That should be enough for the purposes of a “preview” paragraph,
right? I want to make sure there are no spoilers here.

*****************Spoilers Below!***********************
OK, everyone had a chance to click away? Good.
 I’m writing this barely an hour after having finished watching Star
Trek Into Darkness and I gotta say: I’m not entirely sure how I feel
about it yet. I mean, it was great and I was largely entertained, don’t
get me wrong. But there were some elements that left me uneasy about the
whole of the movie. 
First, let’s talk about the
elephant in the room – Benedict Cumberbatch. Yes he played a
fantastically cold villain, but more importantly, HE CAN KEEP A SECRET!
 Remember when everyone was talking about him being Khan? The internet
was *flooded* with the news. Then Abrams said he wasn’t Khan…we didn’t
believe him. Then *Cumberbatch* said he wasn’t Khan. “Speculation is
speculation and that’s all very fun.” ::Slow clap:: Bra-VO, sir. Yes,
he’s Khan. When he revealed his name (and the reveal was *telegraphed*
from a mile away via monologue), I heard some gasps and a small cheer
followed by a few claps. “Had these people not been reading the
Internet?” I thought.  Then I started to admire them – they kept
themselves even more spoiler-free than I did, and I try *very* hard.The
revelation of Cumberbatch’s character’s identity did not overshadow his
performance, however. He plays a cold, methodical, wonderfully venomous
bad guy.  I still applaud him for his role and, as usual, look forward
to seeing him in many roles to come (I can’t *wait* for his Smaug
performance).  
The majority of the movie was
standard Abrams action-adventure fun, but after a while, I started to
notice something: JJ had turned the fan service up a few notches and it
wasn’t just including the eugenics-enhanced Khan into the 2nd Star Trek
movie in the franchise (like they did the first time). There was a
Tribble (which plays a pretty key deus ex machina role), Bones’ “Dammit,
I’m a___, not a ___” line seemed even more pointed than usual, They
even semi-re-created-yet-fudged the same
principle-character-locked-in-the-radioactive-chamber scene though this
time it was Kirk locked in and Spock on the outside.  They even did the
hand-on-the-glass moment and had Spock yell “KHAAAAAANNNNN!!!”. These
were parts of the movie that I felt stopped being a subtle nod to the
fans and became a deadpan to the camera: “Look what we did: like the
Original Series or Wrath of Khan?…ask your parents about it.”  And
because I had grown so fond of the Wrath of Khan scene, I was barely
broken up about it when the moment tried to be recreated here. (which I
felt as a slight slap to the actors as it took away from their
abilities.) For a moment, I found myself wondering “Is the next movie
going to be ‘The Search for Kirk’?”
Where I was hoping Abrams would
continue with his fresh-faced storytelling (I *loved* the introduction
of Nero), seeing so much of the original Wrath of Khan elements put in a
new wrapper was more of a disappointment than I anticipated. Hopefully,
the next one will be more original – I know Abrams, Kurtzman and Orci
have it in them.  As with most summer blockbusters, I didn’t hate it and
when it gets released on disc, I’ll probably pick it up, but I’m in no
hurry. Thanks for the ride, JJ: yes, you can still have my money for the
3rd one. 

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